Mental health providers, who sued to overturn a California law ban on engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with minors, lost their constitutional challenge in a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday.
For the second time, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the state law banning SOCE does not violate constitutional free speech or establishment of religion protections.
The law prohibits licensed mental health therapists from using techniques intended to change a minor’s homosexual orientation.
In 2014, the appeals court upheld the law in a challenge by minors who wanted to receive the therapy.
The case Tuesday, also upheld the law against claims by mental health providers who wished to engage in the banned therapy. In addition, the appeals court rejected privacy claims as already decided in the 2014 ruling.
The panel rejected the plaintiffs claim that the law has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion because some minors who seek the sexual orientation change efforts have religious motivations.
The state argued that the law is limited to mental health workers and does not apply to members of the clergy who act in their religious or pastoral counselor roles.
The opinion by Judge Susan Graber was joined by Judges Alex Kozinski and Morgan Christen.
Case: Welch v. Brown, No. 15-16598